553 Published Reviews
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HDSwitch
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD improves on the original in every conceivable way. The visual and performance upgrades make it feel like a new game, and the motion controls feel much more responsive, thanks to the Switch’s Joy-Cons. But the new button controls are the biggest improvement; instead of fighting against the motion controls, players can now savor the satisfying combat and genius level design.
Mario Golf: Super RushSwitch
Speed Golf and Battle Golf are both great ideas, but they aren’t fleshed out enough to feel like main modes. Golf Adventure is a great way to add depth to what basically amounts to an extended tutorial, but it too suffers from pacing problems. Thankfully, the bulk of the game—the actual golfing—feels better than ever by being both technically challenging and more accessible.
Chivalry 2Xbox Series X
Chivalry II is great fun when it works. Its combat is simple to learn and less simple to master, but incredibly rewarding no matter your skill level. The new 64-player matches and objective-based modes ensure intense, prolonged battles, and the variety in the classes will keep you motivated to grind for that next weapon. But the lack of variety in the maps and subclass abilities, and the overwhelming connection issues, make the game more frustrating than it should be.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartPS5
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the first game I’ve played since the ninth-generation consoles launched that feels like a true next-gen title. Insomniac Games has done everything that it needed to do in making both a sequel to its longest-running franchise and a true next-gen exclusive.
Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD RemasterPS4
The original Nocturne was a heck of a JRPG in its time, and Atlus has now upgraded it with higher-resolution widescreen visuals, richer vocal tracks, and some much-appreciated quality of life upgrades. Unfortunately, it also misses some areas of the game that equally needed touching up (such as the controls and camera), and it’s hard not to feel like the game deserved a full remake rather than just a remaster.
Biomutant is trying to be too many things. It can be fun when you’re comboing supernatural abilities and homemade weaponry to take down a group of bad guys as a furry little post-apocalyptic ronin. But its RPG mechanics are so clunky and uneven, and its various story threads are so underdeveloped, that you’ll end up feeling like nothing you do actually matters.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing HeirSwitch
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir is a captivating window not only into Nintendo’s past, but also into the past of adventure games as a whole. While it retains some of the gameplay frustrations that plagued the genre back in its earlier days, The Missing Heir offers a gripping murder mystery at its core, wrapped in video and audio upgrades that freshen up the experience for a whole new generation of would-be detectives.
Resident Evil VillagePS5
Resident Evil Village expands the pared-back, first-person gameplay of Resident Evil 7 into a more ambitious and over-the-top survival horror experience. Greater variety and more mechanical depth prove that there’s a lot of potential left to explore in this new approach to the series, but some elements are a bit uneven, and you may find yourself missing the simplicity of the Baker ranch.
Returnal excellently blends third-person shooter gameplay with bullet-hell style enemies and roguelike elements to craft a fun, challenging action game that you’ll have a blast learning to master. The only real shame is that the action is yoked to a story that mistakes being vague for being smart and interesting.
New Pokemon SnapSwitch
New Pokémon Snap might be one of the most thoroughly pleasant games that’s come out for the Switch, if not ever. While the core gameplay is the same as it was in 1999, everything about the 2021 game is better. The environments are visual delights, the Pokémon are lovingly recreated, and the progression and pacing are just right. If the hobby of gaming has started to feel like a second or third job, then New Pokémon Snap might just be the vacation you need.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...PS4
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487129… remakes an under-appreciated action RPG for a new era of consoles and players, giving us another look into the beautifully bizarre mind of creator Yoko Taro. Replicant isn’t the most impressive remake on a technical or visual level, but it’s received some very welcome upgrades, such as an improved combat system.
OutridersXbox Series X
People Can Fly’s special brand of explosive gunplay is better than ever in Outriders, but the game loses its way by shoehorning in too many of the RPG mechanics that have become bog standard for the “looter shooter” genre. What should have been a rollercoaster all the way through ends up feeling more like a car in stop-and-go traffic.
Gnosia takes the classic social game of Werewolf and transforms it into a single-player graphical adventure experience. Arguing against the computer in an attempt to determine who is the human-killing alien in your group is far more dynamic and exciting than you’d ever expect this type of game to be.
Maquette's core concept of puzzle solving in recursive environments is undeniably neat. But despite the handful of wow moments it enables, developer Graceful Decay ends up squandering much of the idea's potential due to pacing issues and rough edges.
Ghosts 'n Goblins ResurrectionSwitch
While it’s more of a “best of” for the series than a fresh new chapter, Resurrection is both a trip down memory lane, and a new experience that’ll test both longtime fans and players alike. It probably won’t resurrect the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise for a new era, but at least it reminds us that both Arthur and his enemies aren’t ready for the grave quite yet.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s FurySwitch
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is the Wii U port that Switch owners have been waiting for. Besides the inclusion of online multiplayer, 3D World is the same good game that players already experienced on the Wii U, and fans of the series who missed it the first time around will enjoy its hybridization of 2D and 3D Mario gameplay.
Disjunction deconstructs the stealth genre and boils it down to its simplest and most readable mechanics. Mix in a cool cyberpunk aesthetic and interesting if optional gadgets, and it’s a winning formula. Unfortunately, the game stops well short of fully mining either its trope-heavy story or stealth formula, leading to an experience that ultimately feels repetitive.
The MediumXbox Series X
The Medium builds upon a lot of gameplay gimmicks and ideas that aren’t always used to their full potential, but when they do work, they work incredibly well. Controlling main character Marianne as she jumps between worlds is both engrossing and exciting in practice, and the game’s main location serves its job as a setting for horror masterfully most of the time.
HITMAN 3Xbox Series X
Hitman 3 is a fantastic capstone to a standout series. Yes, a lot of what you experience will seem familiar if you’ve played the last two games, but IO Interactive continues to take interesting risks that largely play off while still perfecting the elements that make Hitman so special.
Cyberpunk 2077’s bugs and technical issues certainly hold it back, and with any luck those will be fixed in the coming months. But it’s more difficult to imagine CD Projekt Red doing enough to resolve the deeper problems: awkwardly balanced systems, storytelling misfires, and an inability to merge its open-world action and RPG gameplay into something smooth and cohesive.
Immortals: Fenyx RisingXbox Series X
If it came out a few months ago or a few months later, Immortals Fenyx Rising might have stood out more. But the problem is that it’s coming after a gauntlet of better Ubisoft products without doing much to improve upon the formula. Sometimes, it actively works against itself in what it’s decided to steal from Breath of the Wild, too.
This is a game that honors its origins without being afraid to also modernize them, and though it might not offer enough modernization for some, this is probably the best balance between keeping what works and upgrading what didn’t that we could have gotten.
Sackboy: A Big AdventurePS4
Ultimately, I’m not sure if Sackboy: A Big Adventure will go down as the most memorable title in the PlayStation 5’s lineup. (Indeed, it’s also available on the PS4, though I can’t speak to that version at all.) I’m also skeptical the realignment away from LittleBigPlanet will help Sackboy join the likes of Mario and Sonic as true platforming icons. But there’s no question fans of the genre will find a lot to love here—and plenty of it.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of CalamitySwitch
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ingeniously translates The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s world, style, and gameplay into the Warriors formula, and fans of both series will be extremely satisfied with how both are reimagined here. But if you were expecting a more straightforward prequel that truly mined the tragedy of the war against Calamity Ganon, instead of relying on tired tropes like time travel, you might be left a little shell-shocked.
But even if Godfall had run flawlessly on the PlayStation 5, I’d have a hard time recommending it to any early adopters. There’s the germ of an interesting game here, but for all the ambitions to start a new genre at the start of a new generation, Counterplay built something that plays more like a forgotten title from the PS2 era: overly complicated, cumbersome, and ignorant of so many of the design advancements of the past two generations.